I had a girls’ night out this week with some wonderful friends.
They inadvertently helped me put things back in perspective and reminded me of something that I believed but had somehow forgotten—that it matters to God when we make sacrifices on behalf of our children.
The question is, what qualifies as a sacrifice and what is simply doing our duty?
Surely someone should notice that your kids just ate half of your lunch, that you changed the world’s grossest diaper or cleaned up the hundredth spill of the day.
That counts, right?
Often when the kids do something particularly bad, I want to pick up the phone (or maybe the laptop) and tell someone about it—to vent, to laugh, to complain, to know I am not alone.
Moms get together to share and compare stories of how difficult their children have been.
The problem with all of these things is that you begin to play the victim.
Guess what my kid did to me?
Sometimes we view each day as a race when it is really more like an obstacle course.
You can run the obstacle course, jumping the hurdles, climbing the walls, and overcome – or you can try to run straight for the finish line, tripping over the hurdles, getting knocked down by each obstacle and cursing that it was in the way.
When the kids place an obstacle in my path, which happens quite literally with every other step, I can curse the obstacle or I can see it as an opportunity for victory, an opportunity to scale the wall, dodge the toys and sidestep a negative attitude.
If I do, my duty turns into a gift, a sacrifice that I can offer for my children and to God.
Let me give you an example.
Yesterday the kids and I were about to go to the grocery store.
Instead of getting in the car, my son dashed out the garage and across the wet, muddy field.
This would normally drive me crazy or just make me mad. We had just gone through every single pair of pants and shoes the day before, and now he was going to need yet another change of clothes.
Meanwhile, the baby was getting impatient in the car and our trip had just been delayed by at least fifteen minutes.
But rather than stubbing my toe on the hurdle, I stood at the top of the hill and thought, OK, this is my obstacle. How am I going to get over it?
I stayed calm, cool and collected. I got my son back to the car and we went to the store.
The problem was solved and I headed to the store with a satisfied feeling of accomplishment instead of a lingering feeling of frustration.
While your spouse, parents and friends can provide encouragement, they don’t see every obstacle you face.
Only God sees the whole course, cheering when you succeed, encouraging you to get back up when you fall.
He saw us yesterday trying to go to the store. I think He was even been proud of me for clearing the hurdle instead of getting mad about it.
Just knowing that gives me strength to keep trying.
...I can curse the obstacle or I can see it as an opportunity for victory.